It was dark in the cave. Darker than the darkest night. Inside, there was a figure, a boy, with unkempt jet black hair that reached the floor. He was wearing a tattered tarp-like cover that looked a bit like a dress. He was extremely skinny and looked so fragile that he would break if you touched him. He was barefoot and his elbows and knees were scratched. But his eyes, his eyes were almost glowing. Blinding even. They were like the sea, so deep and mysterious and dangerous but the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. A spectacular shade of cobalt blue. They were like something out of a legend. Wide and curious and mystified. And looking at something- at what?
At a second figure, a girl, coming out of the only light source. A circular opening in the ceiling. Under it, a mountain of rocks that the boy had tried to climb time and time again, and every time, when he reached the top, everything went dark. And he fell. Down, down, and to the floor of the cave. He would wake up again, and the light would be back. But this girl was descending like it was natural, like she had done it a million times before. She climbed through to the top of the mound of rocks and looked around. Then she noticed the boy, crouching in the shadows as if scared, he was looking at the girl with a mix of fear, interest, and excitement. She then started climbing down. Once she reached the bottom, she turned around and barely covered by the hem of her dress, the boy could see her knees were scratched and bruised.
The girl started walking in the direction of the boy, looking around as if to see if there was anyone else inside the dark cavern, but she could see no but herself and the boy. Then she approached the boy, “I’m Helene, what are you doing here?” The boy looked at her scared. “I’m Helene,” she pointed to herself, “what is your name?”
She pointed to the boy. “??,” he looked confused. “Do you have a name?”
" . . .” silence.
“I’m going to call you ….. Nox. Nox is good. It means night and this cave is so dark it’s like constant night time, so I’ll call you Nox.” She mused while the boy, who was now apparently named Nox, looked skeptical.
“N-Nox? I-I’m Nox….?” Helene almost gasped in shock. Someone could have said his voice was more beautiful than the sweet call of a thrush sitting in a tree, and she would have believed them. It was soothing and calm, like the ocean on a windless day. “Y-you spoke!” Helene exclaimed.
“Mm,” he hummed in agreement. “And you ... Helene?” He spoke the words slowly as if trying to taste them on his tongue.
“Yep! That’s me,” she replied excitedly seeing that Nox could at least slightly communicate through words, even though his general shyness at meeting a person pointed towards never having seen another human being in his life. “Will you be my friend?” Helene’s voice echoed through the empty cave.
“You fr-friend? W-whats friend?”
‘Right,’ she thought, ‘Nox probably hasn’t met many people, if any at all, so he probably doesn’t know much about people.’ “a friend is someone important to you. someone who you can rely on, and trust, and love. perhaps someday you can leave and make more friends than just me.” “Say, Nox?” she inquired, “have you ever been outside? Or remember anything at all?” He looked confused, so she tried again, “do you” she pointed at Nox, “have any memories,” she pointed to his forehead, “of outside?” she pointed to the hole in the roof of the cave.
“Me-memory . . .” he lurched forward slightly, as if nauseous. “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster himself. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” His voice had a calm yet almost robotic undertone, not that Helene or Nox knew what a robot was, as if this phrase had been spoken to him a million times and he memorized it by heart.
Once it seemed he had stepped out of the trance-like state helene wondered, ‘what was that?’
Her attention was wrenched from her thoughts when she heard a loud thud. Nox was lying on the floor, out cold. “NOX!” ‘No, no! What do i do? Does this happen often? Is he going to be okay?’ she reached for his hands ‘good, he has a pulse. he would be okay after a few minutes ... wouldn’t he?’
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